Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cause and Effect

Cause: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier was assigned reading during my freshman year of high school and it was awesome.

Effect: I read My Cousin Rachel, also by du Maurier. It was only slightly less awesome than Rebecca. (Not because there's anything wrong with it, but because Rebecca is that good.) MCR is the story of a woman (Rachel, obvs) told from the perspective of her cousin Philip, who falls in love with her. Is Rachel straightforward and honest, or is she only trying to get Philip's money? P.S.: I re-read Rebecca more recently and it was just as good as I remembered. The Hitchcock movie is great, too.

Cause: I read The Best American Short Stories of 2003 for book club way back when.

Effect: I read the 2001 and 2013 editions (the latter given to me by my wonderful husband for Christmas last year because he knew how much I enjoyed the other two and he's just awesome like that). I like short stories--they often have a memorable impact, and it's so easy to squeeze another story in at odd moments throughout the day--but I frequently find that short story collections (especially those all penned by one author) are a bit uneven. You'll find one or two great stories, a bunch of mediocre ones, and several that just suck. But the Best American series manages to avoid that pitfall. Out of these two collections, the one that still stands out in my mind is The Mourning Door by Elizabeth Graver, about a woman dealing with infertility. It really resonated with me even though it's something I've never experienced myself. (Hello, four kids . . . ) It's so mysterious and strange and bittersweet and I want you to read it.

Cause: I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for my more recently deceased book club.

Effect: I read Flynn's other two books, Dark Places (a woman pieces together what really happened the night she was the only member of her family to survive) and Sharp Objects (a reporter is sent back to her hometown to investigate the murder of a local girl and the disappearance of another). Both are just as well-written, tightly plotted and startlingly intriguing as GG, and both are somewhat more disturbing. Neither is at all disappointing, though GG is my favorite of the three. The publication of each of these books was separated by three years . . . number four should be due in 2015, and I'm looking forward to it!

Cause: I read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (as all good readers should, at some point in their lives).

Effect: I read The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, also by Adams. It's a tongue-in-cheek (what else would you expect?) detective story involving Norse gods. It was a lot of fun, but I can see why it's not as famous as Hitchhiker's Guide. Incidentally, Teatime is the sequel to a book I have not read.

Bam! That's five more books off my "Have Read, Must Blog" list. I'll be caught up before you know it!


Kathy said...

Just realized I was actually supposed to blog about Rebecca too . . . looks like "it was awesome" is all you're going to get. I think it's one I should re-read at least once every ten years.

Ti said...

It is interesting to explore how one book leads you to another. Happens to me a lot.

Kathy said...

I just wish I recorded that trail more often! I'm sure it happens to me a lot too, but I'll never remember without writing it down . . .